From the Rav’s Desk: Having a drink in a non-religious home using their cups

  1. Question: [Tuesday, 12th Kisleiv 5782]

I often visit nonreligious families in their homes as part of my Shlichus work and it quite often occurs that I am offered a drink [of tea or coffee or water or soda] in one of their cups, either Glass or porcelain [i.e. China]. Is there any issue with me drinking from it due to the fact that the cup was not Toiveled, and perhaps is also not kosher?



Initial practice: The initial practice to be followed when being offered a drink in a nonreligious home is to request for a disposable cup to be used. If there are no disposable cups, then one should not ask for a drink, and if asked by the host if he wants a drink, then he should reply in the negative in order so he does not drink from a non-Toiveled vessel.

Was already served the drink or time of need: If one was already offered the drink in the cup and does not feel comfortable rejecting it, then those who are lenient to drink from it have upon whom to rely, [although some are stringent even in such a case to prohibit drinking it unless it is poured into a disposable cup, or china cup that does not need to be Toiveled]. Furthermore, in a time of need one may be lenient to even initially accept the offer for a drink, or even ask for a drink in the cup.

Hot drink: The above is all regarding a cold drink, however a hot drink should not be drunk from a regular China cup, although if the cup is made of glass, then one can be lenient to drink from it even a hot drink if already offered it by the host, as explained above.

No Kashrus concern in the beverage: All this is of course assuming that one is being given tea or coffee with hot water that does not contain any Kashrus concern, and the same applies regarding any of the drink that is offered.

Explanation: Drinking from a non-disposable cup which comes from the kitchen of a nonreligious Jew enters into the question of whether the cup is considered not kosher, and whether one may drink something from a non-kosher cup. It likewise enters the question of whether one may eat or drink something from a vessel that was not immersed in the mikvah. While the former question applies also when being offered a drink in the home of a Gentile, the latter question only applies in a Jewish home, being that the vessels of a Gentile, while owned by the Gentile, is not obligated to be immersed even if one borrows it from him temporarily. Thus, ironically, having a drink in a nonreligious home carries more severe questions than having a drink in the home of a Gentile. Explanation regarding the Kashrus concern: Regarding the first question of having a drink from a non-kosher cup, practically, so long as the drink is cold there is no Kashrus concern, as their cups are considered to be clean of any residue and even if used in the past for hot non-kosher foods, there is no way for the non-kosher taste to get absorbed in one’s cold drink. However, by a hot drink one needs to be stringent unless the cup is made of glass in which case one may be lenient like the opinions who hold that glass does not absorb taste [this is in addition to the fact that it is not even clear if the glass cup was used for hot non-kosher food, and even if it was one can assume that was not used within the past 24 hours].

Explanation regarding the Tevila concern: All metal and glass vessels that a Jew has purchased from a Gentile manufacturing company are required to be immersed in a mikvah prior to use, even prior to its first use. [i.e. there is no allowance to use a vessel one time prior to immersion and this sentiment is pure Halachic folklore.] Porcelain vessels are debated if they must be immersed, and practically we immerse them without a blessing especially today that they are glazed with glass. Thus, it is clear that the glass and porcelain cups of the nonreligious are required to be immersed prior to them being used, unless it can be proven that they were manufactured by a Jew. Accordingly, it is forbidden for one to pour himself a glass of water using one of these cups of the nonreligious Jew due to the prohibition of using a vessel prior to immersion. Likewise, he may not ask the host for a drink in a cup that requires immersion being that he is causing the host to stumble in this law due to him. For this reason, we concluded above that one should always initially ask for a disposable cup when offered a drink, and if there are none available then he should not ask for a drink. Now, if the host already poured one a drink in the non-disposable cup, then the question becomes whether there’s any issue with drinking from it once it has already been poured into the non-Toiveled cup. It is a clear ruling in the Rama that food and drink which were used with a non-Toiveled vessel remain permitted in consumption. The question however is whether the intent of this statement is that one may eat and drink directly from the non-Toiveled vessel, or if that one must first poured the content into another vessel that does not require immersion or was already immersed, and only then may he drink from it. Practically, this matter is debated amongst today’s Poskim and Rabbanim, with some siding like the former that there is no problem in drinking directly from the non-Toiveled cup once it was already served to him, and others siding like the latter that there remains an intrinsic prohibition in drinking from the cup if it was not Toiveled. Practically, in a time of need, in my opinion one may be lenient like the former approach especially being that this is a doubt in a rabbinical matter, as perhaps the vessel was manufactured by a Jew, and even if it wasn’t it’s only rabbinically obligated in immersion if made of glass, and if made of porcelain it is under debate if it even requires immersion at all. [The question in this case should not be confused with a different question of whether one may eat in a kosher restaurant that does not immerses vessels, in which case there is an added leniency due to the fact that the vessels were not purchased for personal use, which is not applicable when drinking from the vessels of the person’s home.]

Sources: See regarding the prohibition of using a vessel even one time prior to immersion: Rama Y.D. 120:8; Michaber Y.D. 120:16 and Admur 323:8 regarding shabbos; Yeshuos Yaakov Y.D. 120:1 that the prohibition of using it prior to immersion is only Rabbinical; Sefer Ohel Yaakov Dinei Tevilas Keilim p. 319; Minchas Shlomo 2:66-14; Hakashrus 4:5; Or Yitzchak 2:17-9; Chayeh Halevi 4:57-9; See regarding that the food remains permitted if used in a non-Toiveled cup: Rama 120:16; Tur Y.D. 120; Yerushalmi Avoda Zara; Tosafus Avoda Zara 75b; Rosh Avoda Zara 5:36; Ramban Avoda Zara 75b; Rashba 75b; Rambam Machalos Assuros 17:4; Chochmas Adam 73:20; Aruch Hashulchan 120:17; Ben Ish Chaiy  Matos 19; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:41; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Tevilas Keilim Vol. 18 p. 510; See regarding  Minchas Yitzchak 1:44; See regarding if one may drink the liquid directly from the non-Toiveled cup or if one must first pour it into another cup: Minchas Shlomo 2:62-11 [permitted]; Sefer Tevilas Keilim 4 footnote 15 in name of the Seridei Eish [permitted]; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:41 and in his letter in Miaseif Torah Vehorah [forbidden if the food needs the vessel to be eaten, such as a liquid]; Hakashrus 4:9 [forbidden]; Maharil Diskin Kuntrus Achron 136 regarding a drink purchased from gentile in glass vessel that may drink before immersing; Ketzos Hashulchan 146 p. 11 that the Rebbe Rashab once purchased a glass of water from a Gentile and threw the cup out the train window when finished as he had no intent to acquire it in order so it not be obligated in immersion and prohibit him from drinking the water; See regarding the untoiveled vessels of restaurants: Darkei Teshuvah 120:70; Aruch Hashulchan; Minchas Yitzchak 1:44; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:22; Yechaveh Daas 4:233; Minchas Shlomo 2:66-11;  See regarding the status of porcelain: Pischeiy Teshuvah 120:2; Sheilas Yaavetz 67  See regarding using a nonkosher cup: Admur 451:2; 450:13; Shach 91:3; Peri Chadash 91:3; Peri Toar 91:2; Kehilas Yehuda 91:2; Batei Kehuna 1:18; P”M 91 M.Z. 3; Zivcheiy Tzedek 91:5 and 12; Kaf Hachaim 91:5-7, 14; See regarding using non kosher glass: Kneses Hagedola Y.D. 121:25 [that even the Machmirim are only stringent regarding Pesach], recorded in P”M 451 M”Z 31 [see Minchas Yitzchak 1:86]; Kehal Yehuda Y.D. 121 “Regarding other Issurim the custom is not to be stringent at all”; Yad Yehuda Y.D. 69 Aruch 89 Katzar 17; Shevilei David Y.D. 121:6 [lenient to use for cold foods by opposite meal]; Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 121:2 “So is the widespread custom to buy all forms of glass vessels from gentiles and use them without Kashering.”; Poskim in Darkei Teshuvah Y.D. 121:2; Mishneh Halachos 9:168

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